The research interests of Eric W. Klee, Ph.D., are divided primarily between two major areas. First, with the Center for Individualized Medicine and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, he leads the bioinformatics initiative centered on discovering how clinicians can apply information gathered from molecular-level data to diagnose and treat individual medical conditions. Second, Dr. Klee is a member of the Mayo Addiction Research Center, where he leads a laboratory team using zebrafish as models to identify novel therapeutic strategies for treating alcohol abuse and tobacco dependence.
- Clinical genomic sequencing laboratory. As co-director of Mayo Clinic's clinical next-generation sequencing laboratory, Dr. Klee conducts research focused on bioinformatics to support clinical test development, implementation, quality control and results interpretation.
- Individualized medicine clinic. Dr. Klee is developing bioinformatics analytic methods to support "n-of-1" testing for two clinical service lines: late-stage, refractory tumor sequencing for assisting in therapeutic decision-making; and pedigree-driven exome sequencing for identification of undiagnosed genetic disease.
- Functional validation of genetic loci using zebrafish. Exome sequencing has enabled the identification of putative causal variants for an increasing number of undiagnosed diseases. This study is focused on using transcriptor activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN)-based gene knockout and single-base substitution technology to functionally validate these genetic loci in vivo.
- Translational research for novel therapeutic strategies in addiction. Research in this area involves the use of preclinical zebrafish models to study tobacco and alcohol abuse with the objective of identifying novel pharmacotherapeutics for treatment and genetic modifiers of treatment. Dr. Klee places a strong emphasis on drug repurposing to expedite translation to clinical practice.
Significance to patient care
Next-generation sequencing has the potential to facilitate individualized medicine and patient care strategies. Dr. Klee's research is focused on enabling the clinical adoption of this technology through the development and implementation of bioinformatics methods to assist medical service providers in the interpretation of these results. His work with the zebrafish preclinical model further supports the application of this technology through the establishment of rapid, in vivo, validation methods for novel genetic findings. Finally, his work in drug repurposing for addiction treatment offers the possibility of quickly providing clinicians with new treatment options to assist patients with overcoming their tobacco dependence.